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EU Troika-China Meeting Focuses on Bilateral Relations

June 12, 2008

Slovenska Tiskovna Agencija - STA (Slovenia)
June 9, 2008

Ljubljana, June 9 (STA) - An EU Troika-China meeting discussed in
Ljubljana on Monday bilateral relations, progress in the negotiations
on the partnership and cooperation agreement, situation in the Taiwan
Strait, human rights, climate change and the North Korean nuclear
issue. Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel labelled the relations between
the sides as good.

At the meeting, headed by Rupel as the current chair of the EU
General Affairs and External Relations Council, and his Chinese
counterpart Yang Jiechi, the delegations also exchanged opinions on
the situation in Myanmar, Iran, Africa and regional groupings in East Asia.

Rupel told the press that the sides had found out they could discuss
all topics frankly, and that they share positions on numerous issues.
He assessed the meeting as interesting and friendly.

Stressing that the world was facing numerous challenges, Rupel said
that constructive solutions required close cooperation while the
current challenges "demand a joint response from the EU and China",
according to a press release by the Slovenian EU presidency.

Talks on Tibet meanwhile focused on the March protests by Tibetans
against Chinese rule. Rupel said the EU was monitoring the events in
the country closely and with some concern.

"We issued a clear opinion stating that violent protests were not
acceptable. We also stressed the need for substantive and
constructive dialogue with regard to the concern expressed by the
Tibet people, while taking into consideration the territorial
integrity and sovereignty of China," he said.

He welcomed China's decision in favour of dialogue with Dalai Lama
and his representatives on all issues related to Tibet except that of
sovereignty, the press release reads.

"Opening Tibet up to the outside world would increase transparency
and thus alleviate international concern," Rupel said.

On the topic of human rights, Rupel said the EU agreed with China's
wish that human rights should represent a positive component of
relations and not a cause of tension.

Rupel said the EU had expressed concern regarding restrictions of the
freedom of expression which had included the enforcement of
regulations on foreign journalists, the conditions for Chinese
journalists and control of the internet.

"I understand that China is not satisfied with the Western media's
reporting of events in Tibet...However, I would like to point out how
they reported the earthquakes which hit the Chinese province of
Sichuan. They praised the Chinese authorities' response and showed
great compassion for the suffering Chinese population."

Turning to Korea, Rupel said the EU had repeatedly expressed its firm
support for the Six-Party Talks on the denuclearisation on the Korean
peninsula and was grateful to China for its constructive role in the process.

"We call upon all the parties to continue the positive moves that
would result in the issue of a proper final declaration on all North
Korea's nuclear programmes...Verifiable and complete dismantling of
all North Korea's nuclear programmes and denuclearisation of the
Korean peninsula continues to be the ultimate objective."

The two sides then discussed the recent catastrophic cyclone that
struck Myanmar, with Rupel saying that the "European public was
shocked that the military junta, despite the large-scale humanitarian
disaster, had not cancelled the national referendum immediately."

Rupel also conveyed the deepest sympathies to the Chinese delegation
following the recent catastrophic earthquake in the province of
Sichuan on the EU's behalf, according to the press release.

The EU delegation also included EU foreign policy chief Javier
Solana, External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita
Ferrero-Waldner, and Alain Joyandet, State Secretary in charge of
Cooperation and Francophony at the French Foreign Ministry.
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